Trojan War 1260BC (given as 1194–1184 BC by Eratosthenes) Greeks attack Troy


Sea Peoples 1220 and 1186BC invade eastern Mediterranean, defeated in Egypt.



Homer, Iliad and Odyssey (Ancient Greek: Ὅμηρος, Hómēros) is traditionally held to be the author of the ancient Greek epic poems the Iliad and the Odyssey, as well as of the Homeric Hymns. Today the hymns are considered to be later works but many still regard Homer as the author or compiler of the epics. The ancient Greeks generally believed that Homer was a historical individual, but some modern scholars are skeptical: G. S. Kirk's comment that "Antiquity knew nothing definite about the life and personality of Homer."[1] represents the general consensus. Some scholars believe that the poems themselves manifestly represent the culmination of many centuries of oral story-telling and a well-developed "formulaic" system of poetic composition, so according to Martin West, "Homer" is "not the name of a historical poet, but a fictitious or constructed name."[2]

The date of Homer's existence was controversial in antiquity and is no less so today. Herodotus said that Homer lived 400 years before his own time, which would place him at around 850 BC;[3] but other ancient sources gave dates much closer to the supposed time of the Trojan War.[4] The date of the Trojan War was given as 1194–1184 BC by Eratosthenes, who strove to establish a scientific chronology of events and this date is gaining support because of recent archaeological research.[citation needed]

For modern scholarship, "the date of Homer" refers to the date of the poems' conception as much as to the lifetime of an individual. The scholarly consensus is that "the Iliad and the Odyssey date from the extreme end of the 9th century BC or from the 8th, the Iliad being anterior to the Odyssey, perhaps by some decades",[5] i.e., somewhat earlier than Hesiod,[6] and that the Iliad is the oldest work of western literature. Over the past few decades, some scholars have argued for a 7th-century date. Those who believe that the Homeric poems developed gradually over a long period of time, however, generally give a later date for the poems: according to Nagy, they only became fixed texts in the 6th century.[7]

Alfred Heubeck states that the formative influence of the works of Homer in shaping and influencing the whole development of Greek culture was recognised by many Greeks themselves, who considered him to be their instructor.[8]


The Iliad (Greek: Ἰλιάς, Iliás) is an epic poem recounting significant events during a portion of the final year of the Trojan War — the Greek siege of the city of Ilion (Troy) — hence the title (“pertaining to Ilios”). In twenty-four scrolls, containing 15,693 lines of dactylic hexameter, it tells the wrathful withdrawal from battle of Achilles, the premiere Greek warrior, after King Agamemnon dishonoured him — an internecine quarrel disastrous to the Greek cause. This poem establishes most of the events (including Achilles’s slaying of Hector) later developed in the Epic Cycle narrative poems recounting the Trojan War events not narrated in the Iliad and the Odyssey.[1]

The Iliad, and its sequel, the Odyssey, are attributed to Homer, but his sole authorship is doubted by some scholars who think the poems exhibit different poetic styles (dialect, idiom, metre) which may indicate several authors, a presumed characteristic of the Ancient Greek oral tradition. [2] Twentieth century scholars dated these poems to the late-ninth and early-eighth centuries BC, [3] notably G. S. Kirk, Richard Janko, and Barry B. Powell (who links its transcription to the invention of the Greek alphabet), however, Martin West and Richard Seaford, posit either the seventh or the sixth centuries BC, as the composition time(s) of this oldest extant literary work of Ancient Greece, and the world.

The titles of the poem — the Greek Iliad and the Latin Ilium — derive from the city’s name. The Trojan War subject-title derives from the English Troy, derived from the Greek Τροία and Troía; the Latin feminines Troia and Troiæ; and the Turkish Truva, each denominates the State whose capital is Ilium. Moreover, Kauffman posits that the Ilios city-name derives from Wilusa, a Hittite region-name.


The Odyssey (Greek: Ὀδύσσεια, Odýsseia) is one of two major ancient Greek epic poems attributed to Homer. It is, in part, a sequel to the Iliad, the other work traditionally ascribed to Homer. The poem is fundamental to the modern Western canon. Indeed it is the second—the Iliad being the first—extant work of Western literature. It was probably composed near the end of the eighth century BC, somewhere in Ionia, the then Greek-controlled coastal region of what is now Turkey.[1]

The poem mainly centers on the Greek hero Odysseus (or Ulysses, as he was known in Roman myths) and his long journey home following the fall of Troy. It takes Odysseus ten years to reach Ithaca after the ten-year Trojan War.[2] In his absence, it is assumed he has died, and his wife Penelope and son Telemachus must deal with a group of unruly suitors, the Mnesteres (Greek: Μνηστῆρες) or Proci, competing for Penelope's hand in marriage.



Cyrus the Great rebelled against the Medes in 554 BC/553 BC[9] and after four years conquered the Medes and founded the Persian Empire. Croesus saw this as an opportunity to extend his realm and asked the oracle of Delphi whether he should make war. The Oracle replied with one of its more famous answers, that if Croesus was to cross the river Halys he would destroy a great empire.[10] Croesus did not realise the ambiguity of the statement and marched to war but was defeated and his capital fell to Cyrus.[11]

Cyrus then conquered Assyria[13] before he died. His successor Cambyses II :

regarded the Ionians and Aiolians; and he proceeded to march an army against Egypt, taking with him as helpers not only the other nations of which he was the ruler, but also those of the Hellenes over whom he had power besides (Herodotus II,1 translated by G. C. Macaulay)

Persian satraps of Asia Minor installed tyrants in most of the Ionian cities and forced Greeks to pay taxes. The campaign against Egypt in 525 BC was successful when the Cypriot cities,[14] Polycrates of Samos[15] (both of whom had a fleet) and the leader of the Greek mercenaries of Egypt Phanes of Halicarnassus came to his side.[16] This conquest increased discontent with the Persians due to a reduction in trade because Phoenicians, who had willingly joined the Persian empire earlier[17] took part of the market. Furthermore the fall of the Greek colony Sybaris in Southern Italy in 510 BC closed the western markets for the Ionian city-states.[18] In the mean time Darius the Great, Cambyses' successor conquered Libya and part of India, thus creating a massive empire.



The Greco-Persian Wars were a series of conflicts between several Greek city-states and the Persian Empire that started in 499 BC and lasted until 448 BC. The expression "Persian Wars" usually refers to both Persian invasions of the Greek mainland in 490 BC and in 480-479 BC; in both cases, the allied Greeks successfully repelled the invasions.[2] Not all Greek city-states fought against the Persians; some were neutral and others allied with Persia, especially as its massive armies approached.

What is known of this conflict today comes almost exclusively from the Greek sources. Herodotus of Halicarnassus after his exile from his home town, in the middle of the 5th century BC travelled all over the Mediterranean and beyond, from Scythia to Egypt collecting information over the Persian Wars and other events that he complied in his book Ιστοριης Απόδειξις (known in English as The Histories). He begins with Croesus's conquest of Ionia[3] and ends with the fall of Sestus in 479 BC.[4] He is believed to repeat what was told to him by his hosts and sponsors without subjecting it to critical control, thus giving us at times the truth, at times exaggerations and at times political propaganda. However, ancient writers consider his work much better in quality than that of any of his predecessors which is why Cicero called him father of history.[5]

Thucydides the Athenian intended to compile a work from where Herodotus ends until the end of the Peloponnesian War in 404 BC. His collection of books is entitled Ξυγγραφη (known in English as The Peloponnesian War). It is believed that he died before completing his work, as he gives a full account only of the first twenty years of the Peloponnesian War. There is little information on what happened before. The events that interest us here are recounted in Book I paragraphs 89 to 118.

Among later writers Ephorus wrote in the 4th century BC a universal history which includes the events of these wars. Diodorus Siculus wrote in the 1st century AD a book of history since the beginning of time that also includes the history of this war. The closest thing to a Persian source in Greek literature is Ctesias of Cnedus who was Artaxerxes Mnemon's personal physician wrote a history of Persia according to Persian sources in the 4th century BC. In his work he also mocks Herodotus and claims that his information is accurate since he heard from the Persians. Unfortunately the works of these last writers have not survived complete. Since fragments of them are given in the Myriobiblon which was compiled by Photius that later became Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople in the 9th century AD, in the book Eklogai by the emperor Constantine VII Porphyrogenitos (913-919 AD) and the Suda dictionary 10th century AD it is believed that they were lost with the destruction of the imperial library of the Holy Palace of Constantinople by the crusaders of the Fourth Crusade in 1204.

Thus historians are forced to supplement Herodotus' and Thucydides' information with works of later writers intended for other uses like 2nd century AD Plutarch's biographies and the tour guide of southern Greece compiled at the same time by the geographer and traveller Pausanias, who is not to be confused with the Spartan general of the same name mentioned later. Some Roman historians in their works give account of this conflict. Justinus who information, as are in Cornelius Nepos's Biographies.


The Ionian Revolts were triggered by the actions of Aristagoras, the tyrant of the Ionian city of Miletus at the end of the 6th century BC and the beginning of the 5th century BC. They constituted the first major conflict between Greece and Persia. Most of the Greek cities occupied by the Persians in Asia Minor and Cyprus rose up against their Persian rulers. The war lasted from 499 BC to 493 BC.

By 493 BC, the last holdouts of the rebellion were subjugated by the Persian fleet, containing ships from Egypt and Phoenicia. The revolt was used as an opportunity by the Persian king Darius the Great to extend the empire's border to the islands of the East Aegean and the Propontis, Records from the period indicate that the Persian and Greek nobility began to intermarry, and the children of Persian nobles were given Greek names instead of Persian names. Darius' conciliatory policies were used as a type of propaganda campaign against the mainland Greeks, so that in 491 BC, when Darius sent heralds throughout Greece demanding submission (earth and water), initially most city-states accepted the offer, Athens and Sparta being the most prominent exceptions.[22]

The completion of the pacification of Ionia allowed the Persians to begin planning their next moves; to extinguish the threat to the empire from Greece, and to punish Athens and Eretria.[23] This led to the first Persian invasion of Greece, which consisted of two main campaigns


492 BC:

The first campaign in 492 BC, led by Darius's son-in-law Mardonius,[24] re-subjugated Thrace, which had nominally been part of the Persian empire since 513 BC.[25] Mardonius was also able to force Macedon to become a client kingdom of Persia, whereas it had previously been an independent ally.[26] However, further progress in this campaign was prevented when Mardonius's fleet was wrecked in a storm off the coast of Mount Athos. Mardonius himself was then injured in a raid on his camp by a Thracian tribe, and after this he returned with the expedition to Asia.[26][27]

The following year, having demonstrated his intentions, Darius sent ambassadors to all parts of Greece, demanding their submission.[28] He received it from almost all of them, excepting Athens and Sparta, both of whom executed the ambassadors.[28] With Athens still defiant, and Sparta now effectively at war with him, Darius ordered a further military campaign for the following year.




























490 BC:

In 490 BC Datis and Artaphernes (son of the satrap Artaphernes) were given command of an amphibious invasion force, and set sail from Cilicia.[29] The Persian force sailed from Cilicia firstly to the island of Rhodes, where a Lindian Temple Chronicle records that Datis besieged the city of Lindos, but was unsuccessful.[30] The fleet sailed next to Naxos, in order to punish the Naxians for their resistance to the failed expedition that the Persians had mounted there a decade earlier.[31] Many of the inhabitants fled to the mountains; those that the Persians caught were enslaved.[32] The Persians then burnt the city and temples of the Naxians.[32] The fleet then proceeded to island-hop across the rest of the Aegean on its way to Eretria, taking hostages and troops from each island.[31]

The task force sailed on to Euboea, and to the first major target, Eretria.[33] The Eretrians made no attempt to stop the Persians landing, or advancing, and thus allowed themselves to be besieged, leading to the siege of Eretria.[34] For six days the Persians attacked the walls, with losses on both sides;[34] however, on the seventh day two reputable Eretrians opened the gates and betrayed the city to the Persians.[34] The city was razed, and temples and shrines were looted and burned. Furthermore, according to Darius's commands, the Persians enslaved all the remaining townspeople.[34]

The Persian fleet next headed south down the coast of Attica, landing at the bay of Marathon, roughly 25 miles (40 km) from Athens [35] Under the guidance of Miltiades, the general with the greatest experience of fighting the Persians, the Athenian army marched to block the two exits from the plain of Marathon. Stalemate ensued for five days, until part of the Persian force, including the cavalry, was sent by sea to attack Athens directly (under Artaphernes).[36] With the cavalry threat to their hoplite phalanx removed, and needing to act quickly to prevent the conquest of Athens, the Athenians attacked the remaining Persian army at dawn on the sixth day. Despite the numerical advantage of the Persians, the hoplites proved devastatingly effective, routing the Persians wings and achieving a double envelopment of the centre; the remnants of the Persian army fled to their ships and left the battle.[37] Herodotus records that 6,400 Persian bodies were counted on the battlefield,[38] and it is unknown how many perished in the swamps. The Athenians lost 192 men[38] and the Plataeans 11.[39]

As soon as the Persian survivors had put to sea the Athenians marched as quickly as possible to Athens.[40] They arrived in time to prevent Artaphernes from securing a landing in Athens. Seeing his opportunity lost, Artaphernes brought the year's campaign to an end and returned to Asia[41].

The Battle of Marathon was a watershed in the Greco-Persian wars, showing the Greeks that the Persians could be beaten. It also highlighted the superiority of the more heavily armoured Greek hoplites, and showed their potential when used wisely


490-480 BC

After the defeat at Marathon, Darius ordered all the cities of his vast empire to provide warriors, ships, horses, and provisions to raise a great army for a second invasion but before he was ready to attack (in 486 BC) an insurrection broke out in Egypt, forcing a delay. In the next year Darius died after a reign of thirty-six years. His only failures in life were that he could not defeat Scythia or capture Greece, although the tyrant of Athens had sent earth and water to Persia in 507 BC when faced with Spartan aggression. His son and successor Xerxes I was at first preoccupied with suppressing the revolt in Egypt and a later one in Babylon before he could turn his attention westward to the European side of the Aegean. It wasn't until 480 BC that the expedition was ready to proceed. Like his father's, his only failure was that he could not capture Greece, having chosen not to fight Scythia.

The Persians had the sympathy of a number of Greek city-states,[43] including Argos, which had pledged to defect when the Persians reached their borders.[44] The Aleuades family that ruled Larissa in Thessaly saw the invasion as an opportunity to extend their power.[45] Thebes was willing to pass to the Persian side when Xerxes' army reached their borders, and did so immediately following Thermopylae, though Herodotus hints that at Thermopylae it was already well known that Thebes had capitulated.

Meanwhile Alexander I of Macedon, who had supported the Greeks during the Ionian revolt, had been forced to submit to Persia after the Mardonius' campaign. He was sympathetic to the Hellenic side, however, and sent valuable information to the Greeks regarding Xerxes' plans and movements.



In autumn of 481 BC Sparta, in cooperation with Athens, called a congress in the temple of Poseidon on the isthmus of Corinth. Every Greek city-state that had not then fallen to the Persians was called except Massalia and her colonies and Cyrene. Diodorus reports that the Persians and Carthaginians had signed a treaty to co-ordinate invasions, keeping the sizeable Sicilian and Italian reinforcements in check.[53] The only help received was one ship from Crotone, which fought in the battle of Salamis. Argos[54] and Crete[55] refused to send emissaries,


(480-479 BC)

Second Invasion of Greece. Xerxes decided that the Hellespont would be bridged to allow his army to cross to Europe, and that a canal should be dug across the isthmus of Mount Athos (rounding which headland, a Persian fleet had been destroyed in 492 BC). These were both feats of exceptional ambition, which would have been beyond any contemporary state.[57] By early 480 BC, the preparations were complete,

In 481 BC, after roughly four years of preparation, Xerxes began mustering the troops for the invasion of Europe in Asia minor. The next spring, the army marched towards Europe, crossing the Hellespont on two pontoon bridges.[58]

The numbers of troops which Xerxes mustered for the second invasion of Greece have been the subject of endless dispute. Modern scholars tend to reject as unrealistic the figures of 2.5 million given by Herodotus and other ancient sources as a result of miscalculations or exaggerations on the part of the victors. The topic has been hotly debated but the consensus revolves around the figure of 200,000.[59]

The size of the Persian fleet is also disputed, although perhaps less so. Herodotus gives a number of 1,207, which is concurred with (approximately) by other ancient authors. The numbers are (by ancient standards) consistent, and this could be interpreted that a number around 1,200 is correct. Among modern scholars some have accepted this number, although suggesting that the number must have been lower by the Battle of Salamis.[60][61][62] Other recent works on the Persian Wars reject this number, 1,207 being seen as more of a reference to the combined Greek fleet in the Iliad generally claim that the Persians could have launched no more than around 600 warships into the Aegean.[63][64][65]


August 480 BC: Battles of Thermopylae & Artemisium

The Spartans considered the threat so grave that they despatched their king Leonidas I with his personal bodyguard (the Hippeis) of 300 men[74] Leonidas was supported by contingents from the Allied Peloponnesian cities, and other forces which the Allies picked up en route to Thermopylae.[74] The Greeks proceeded to occupy the pass, rebuilt the wall the Phocians had built at the narrowest point of the pass, and waited for Xerxes's arrival.[75]

The Greek position was ideally suited to hoplite warfare, the Persian contingents being forced to attack the Phalanx head on.[77] The Greeks thus withstood two full days of battle and everything Xerxes could throw at them. However, on the second day, they were betrayed by a local resident named Ephialtes who revealed a mountain path that led behind the Greek lines to Xerxes. Aware that they were being outflanked, Leonidas dismissed the bulk of the Greek army, remaining to guard the rear with perhaps 2,000 men. On the final day of the battle, the remaining Greeks sallied forth from the wall to meet the Persians in the wider part of the pass in an attempt to slaughter as many Persians as they could, but eventually they were all killed or captured.[78]



The Battle of Salamis (Ancient Greek: Ναυμαχία τῆς Σαλαμῖνος), was a naval battle fought between an Alliance of Greek city-states and the Achaemenid Empire of Persia in September 480 BC in the straits between the mainland and Salamis, an island in the Saronic Gulf near Athens. It marked the high-point of the second Persian invasion of Greece which had begun in 480 BC.

Victory at Thermopylae meant that all Boeotia fell to Xerxes; and left Attica open to invasion. The remaining population of Athens was evacuated, with the aid of the Allied fleet, to Salamis. [81] The Peloponnesian Allies began to prepare a defensive line across the Isthmus of Corinth, building a wall, and demolishing the road from Megara, thus abandoning Athens to the Persians.[82] Athens thus fell to the Persians; the small number of Athenians who had barricaded themselves on the Acropolis were eventually defeated, and Xerxes then ordered Athens to be torched.[83]

The Persians had now captured most of Greece, but Xerxes had perhaps not expected such defiance; his priority was now to complete the war as quickly as possible [84] If Xerxes could destroy the Allied navy, he would be in a strong position to force a Greek surrender;[85] conversely by avoiding destruction, or as Themistocles hoped, by destroying the Persian fleet, the Greeks could prevent the completion of the conquest.[86] The Allied fleet thus remained off the coast of Salamis into September, despite the imminent arrival of the Persians. Even after Athens fell, the Allied fleet still remained off the coast of Salamis, trying to lure the Persian fleet to battle.[87] Partly as a result of subterfuge on the part of Themistocles, the navies met in the cramped Straits of Salamis.[88] There, the Persian numbers were an active hindrance, as ships struggled to maneuver and became disorganised.[89] Seizing the opportunity, the Greek fleet attacked, and scored a decisive victory, sinking or capturing at least 200 Persian ships, and thus securing the Peloponnessus.[90]

According to Herodotus, Xerxes attempted to build a causeway across the channel to attack the Athenian evacuees on Salamis, after the loss of the battle but this project was soon abandoned. With the Persians' naval superiority removed, Xerxes feared that the Greeks might sail to the Hellespont and destroy the pontoon bridges.[91] His general Mardonius volunteered to remain in Greece and complete the conquest with a hand-picked group of troops, whilst Xerxes retreated to Asia with the bulk of the army.[92] Mardonius over-wintered in Boeotia and Thessaly; the Athenians were thus able to return to their burnt city for the winter.[84]


479 BC: Battles of Plataea and Mycale

Mardonius moved to break the stalemate, by offering peace to the Athenians using Alexander I of Macedon as intermediate.[94] The Athenians made sure that a Spartan delegation was on hand to hear the offer, but rejected it.[94] Athens was thus evacuated again, and the Persians marched south and re-took possession of it. Mardonius now repeated his offer of peace to the Athenian refugees on Salamis. Athens, along with Megara and Plataea sent emissaries to Sparta demanding assistance, and threatening to accept the Persian terms if not.[95] The Spartans thus assembled a huge Allied army and marched to meet the Persians.[96]

Seeing that the Persians might never have a better opportunity to attack, Mardonius ordered his whole army forward.[99] However, the Persian infantry proved no match for the heavily armoured Greek hoplites,[100] and the Spartans broke through to Mardonius's bodyguard and killed him.[101] The Persian force thus dissolved in rout; 40,000 troops managed to escape via the road to Thessaly,[102] but the rest fled to the Persian camp where they were trapped and slaughtered by the Greeks, thus finalising the Greek victory.[103][104]

On the afternoon of the Battle of Plataea, Herodotus tells us that rumour of the Greek victory reached the Allied navy, at that time off the coast of Mount Mycale in Ionia.[105] Their morale boosted, the Allied marines fought and won a decisive victory at the Battle of Mycale the same day, destroying the remnants of the Persian fleet, crippling Xerxes' sea power, and marking the ascendancy of the Greek fleet.[106]

After a protracted siege, Sestos fell to the Athenians, marking the beginning of a new phase in the Greco-Persian Wars, the Greek reconquest. This is where Herodotus ends his Historia.


The Unification of Macedonia

Alexander of Macedon, encouraged by the Greek success at Plataea and his victory over the Persians in the Strymon river, expanded his realm to include the other Greek tribes living east of Mount Pindus. He conquered the land east until the banks of the Strymon river, conquering several non-Greek tribes living there.[108] He founded three cities to expand Greek influence into his newly conquered land, and managed to expand his realm east of the Strymon river, gaining part of Mount Pangaion and its famous gold mines. Thus he created the largest individual Greek state in terms of area, population, and income. However, despite its potential, the kingdom of Macedon retained a splintered and feudal style of government, with the king holding little central authority and subservient to the combined force of the aristocracy. Only in the 4th century BC, when the city-states in its south were in general decline, would Phillip II of Macedon, a king with great political genius, firmly unite the Macedonian aristocracy into a strong, centralized monarchy and expand the kingdom beyond these borders and raise it to prominence.

























The last Allied operation: Siege of Byzantium (478 BC)

 In 478 BC, a fleet composed of 20 Peloponnesian ships, 30 Athenian ships under Aristides, and other allied forces, with the general command given to Pausanias, sailed to Cyprus. There they succeeded in liberating the Greek cities, but did not succeed in their sieges against the Phoenician cities. Thus Cyprus remained a base of the Persian fleet. The Greek fleet then sailed to Byzantium.[109] Control of the Hellespont and Bosporus was of vital importance to Athens, since throughout the classical age Athens produced only 40% of the food required to feed her population, the rest being imported from the Greek colonies of the Black Sea.

The city of Byzantium fell after a siege. Many Persians including nobility fell prisoner to the Greek forces. Pausanias, who was of the royal house of Agis, was greatly impressed by the new way of life he witnessed and adopted it. He started wearing Persian dress and offering Persian-style banquets. He also mistreated the Ionian delegates. His Persian-style behaviour scandalised both the Ionians and the Peloponnesians and Pausanias was recalled to Sparta. There he faced charges that he was plotting with the Persian king to become tyrant of Greece, that he was in secret communication with him and that he had asked his daughter as his wife. He was acquitted of those charges, found guilty only of mistreating individuals in their private affairs and sentenced not to lead another campaign outside Sparta.[110] Being impatient he took a warship from Hermion and travelled back to Byzantium. No longer welcome there, he crossed the Propontis to the Troas region where he stayed for some time.[111] What he did there is completely unknown. He was recalled to Sparta by special envoy where he was to be brought against charges that he was again plotting with the King of Kings and that he was planning a helot revolution. On his way back, while he was inside the Spartan state limits, he saw the ephoroi, the elected council of five that ruled Sparta, approaching and one of them signalled to him that he was doomed. He took refuge in a nearby temple, where he died of starvation several days later. Some modern historians,[112] based on that he was never condemned and that had he been in league with the Persians he would have sought refuge there and not return, claim this was all a fabrication by his political enemies in Sparta.

In the meantime, in 477 BC the Spartans had sent Dorkis as general in Byzantium with a small force. The Ionians, with the memories of Pausanias's mistreatment of them fresh, asked them to leave. Relieved, the Spartans who no longer wished to continue fighting the Persians withdrew.[113] Athens gladly filled the vacuum, forming the First Athenian Alliance, better known as the Delian League.



The Delian League, Athens and her allies in 431 BC. The city-states in the Aegean were part of the Delian League


























Pericles (also spelled Perikles) (c. 495 – 429 BC, Greek: Περικλῆς, meaning "surrounded by glory") was a prominent and influential statesman, orator, and general of Athens during the city's Golden Age—specifically, the time between the Persian and Peloponnesian wars.

Pericles had such a profound influence on Athenian society that Thucydides, his contemporary historian, acclaimed him as "the first citizen of Athens". Pericles turned the Delian League into an Athenian empire and led his countrymen during the first two years of the Peloponnesian War. The period during which he led Athens, roughly from 461 to 429 BC, is sometimes known as the "Age of Pericles", though the period thus denoted can include times as early as the Persian Wars, or as late as the next century.

Pericles promoted the arts and literature; this was a chief reason Athens holds the reputation of being the educational and cultural centre of the ancient Greek world. He started an ambitious project that built most of the surviving structures on the Acropolis (including the Parthenon). This project beautified the city, exhibited its glory, and gave work to the people.[1] Furthermore, Pericles fostered Athenian democracy to such an extent that critics call him a populist.[2][3]



Campaign in Egypt (462-454 BC) In 462 BC Egypt rose again against Persia. Their king Inaros asked in 460 BC Athens for assistance which was gladly rendered because Athens wished to colonise Egypt. The Persians had gathered a force of 400,000 (according to Ctesias and Diodorus)[122] to suppress the revolution. A force of 200 Athenian triremes that was campaigning in Cyprus was immediately ordered for assistance.[123]


Battle of Pampremis

A battle took place on Pampremis in the west bank of the Nile river.[124] According to Diodorus who is our only source about Athenian engagement in this battle, the Athenian phalanx again defeated the Persian archer.[125] The Egyptians and Libyans that were previously retreating on the rest of the front followed the breach in the Persian ranks the Athenians caused and won the battle.



Battles of Memphis

The Persian army retreated to Memphis.[126] A sea battle took place near there, where 40 Athenian under Charitimedes and 15 Samian ships (of the 200 that had arrived) sunk 30 and captured 20 Persian ships, according to Ctesias.[127] Between 459 BC and 456 BC the Egyptians and their Athenian allies were still engaged in the siege of the Persian force in Memphis. A large part of the Athenian fleet had been recalled to the Aegean to help with operations there. The Persians organised another force that, according to Ctesias, numbered 200,000 soldiers and 300 ships, though according to Diodorus had over 300,000 infantry and cavalry. It was led by Megabyzus. A new battle took place near Memphis. Charitimedes was killed, king Inaros escaped to the naval base that had been set up in Prosoptis island on the Nile Delta.

Siege of Prosoptis

There, assisted by 6,000 Athenians and their fleet he was besieged for 18 months. The Persian generals did not dare land. They drained the land between the river bank and the island and surprised the Egyptians. The Egyptians quickly surrendered except king Inaros. The Athenians were left alone.[128] Megabyzus negotiated with the Athenians their surrender and were allowed through Cyrene to return to their home. A number of them though was kept prisoner according to Ctesias. Athenians and their allies lost some 20,000 men in this campaign if Isocrates' numbers are accepted.[129]



Campaigns in Cyprus (466-450 BC)

Ever since the battle of Eurymedon in 466 BC Athens was engaged in operations against the Persian forces in Cyprus. The task force which became engaged in the Egyptian campaign had originally been campaigning in Cyprus. A further fleet was sent from Cyprus to relieve the force at Prosoptis, unaware that the Athenians there had surrendered, and was then defeated by the Persians near Cape Mendesium. The result of this loss was that Cyprus fell again to the Persians.[132]



Battle of Salamis in Cyprus (450 BC) The Athenians defeated both at land and sea the Persians. According to Thucydides both battles took place in Salamis.[136] According to Diodorus though the land battle took place in Cilicia where the defeated fleet had fled.[137] Thus Kimon, even after his death, defeated the Persians.



None of the sides were in full control of the whole of the Eastern Mediterranean. The king of Persia sent emissaries to Athens. Pericles responded favourably and, in the autumn of 449 BC according to Diodorus, sent Callias son of Ipponicus in Susa to negotiate. The exact nature of the agreement that became known as the peace of Callias remains unclear (formal treaty or non-aggression pact). According to Diodorus it was an "important treaty", Thucydides doesn't even mention it. The terms, according to Diodorus were:[138]

All Greek cities of Asia were to be autonomous

Persian satraps were not to reach closer than three days walk from the sea

No Persian warship was to be in the area between Phaselis in Pamphylia and the Bosporus

If the Great king and his generals were to comply the Athenians were not to campaign against Artaxerxes

After the peace was agreed Athenians recalled the 60 triremes from Egypt and their forces from Cyprus (apparently this was part of the agreement though it is not mentioned) and ceased operations in this front. The situation in Greece though had flared up and war continued there until the Thirty Year Peace of 445 BC. Afterwards Greece entered in what is called the Greek Golden Age, a time of security and development.                                                    


484 BC– 425 BC

Herodotos of Halicarnassus (Greek: Ἡρόδοτος Ἁλικαρνᾱσσεύς Hēródotos Halikarnāsseús) was a Greek historian who lived in the 5th century BC (c. 484 BC–c. 425 BC) and is regarded as the "Father of History" in Western culture. He was the first historian to collect his materials systematically, test their accuracy to a certain extent and arrange them in a well-constructed and vivid narrative.[1] He is almost exclusively known for writing The Histories, a record of his "inquiries" (or ἱστορίαι, a word that passed into Latin and took on its modern meaning of history) into the origins of the Greco-Persian Wars which occurred in 490 and 480-479 BC—especially since he includes a narrative account of that period, which would otherwise be poorly documented, and many long digressions concerning the various places and peoples he encountered during wide-ranging travels around the lands of the Mediterranean and Black Sea. Although some of his stories are not completely accurate, he states that he is only reporting what has been told to him.


469 BC–399 BC

Socrates (pronounced /ˈsɒkrətiːz/; Greek: Σωκράτης, Sōkrátēs; c. 469 BC–399 BC[1]) was a Classical Greek philosopher. Credited as one of the founders of Western philosophy, he is an enigmatic figure known only through the classical accounts of his students. Plato's dialogues are the most comprehensive accounts of Socrates to survive from antiquity.[2]

Through his portrayal in Plato's dialogues, Socrates has become renowned for his contribution to the field of ethics, and it is this Platonic Socrates who also lends his name to the concepts of Socratic irony and the Socratic method, or elenchus. The latter remains a commonly used tool in a wide range of discussions, and is a type of pedagogy in which a series of questions are asked not only to draw individual answers, but to encourage fundamental insight into the issue at hand. It is Plato's Socrates that also made important and lasting contributions to the fields of epistemology and logic, and the influence of his ideas and approach remains strong in providing a foundation for much western philosophy that followed.

As one recent commentator has put it, Plato, the idealist, offers "an idol, a master figure, for philosophy. A Saint, a prophet of the 'Sun-God', a teacher condemned for his teachings as a heretic."[3] Yet, the 'real' Socrates, like many of the other Ancient philosophers, remains at best enigmatic and at worst unknown.


428/427 BC– 348/347 BC

Plato (Greek: Πλάτων, Plátōn, "broad")[1] (428/427 BC[a] – 348/347 BC), was a Classical Greek philosopher, mathematician, writer of philosophical dialogues, and founder of the Academy in Athens, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world. Along with his mentor, Socrates, and his student, Aristotle, Plato helped to lay the foundations of natural philosophy, science, and Western philosophy.[2] Plato was originally a student of Socrates, and was as much influenced by his thinking as by what he saw as his teacher's unjust death.

Plato's sophistication as a writer is evident in his Socratic dialogues; thirty-five dialogues and thirteen letters have traditionally been ascribed to him, although modern scholarship doubts the authenticity of at least some of these.[3] Plato's writings have been published in several fashions; this has led to several conventions regarding the naming and referencing of Plato's texts.

Although there is little question that Plato lectured at the Academy that he founded, the pedagogical function of his dialogues, if any, is not known with certainty. The dialogues since Plato's time have been used to teach a range of subjects, mostly including philosophy, logic, rhetoric, mathematics, and other subjects about which he wrote.


384 BC – 322 BC

Aristotle (Greek: Ἀριστοτέλης, Aristotélēs) (384 BC – 322 BC) was a Greek philosopher, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. He wrote on many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, politics, government, ethics, biology and zoology.

Together with Plato and Socrates (Plato's teacher), Aristotle is one of the most important founding figures in Western philosophy. He was the first to create a comprehensive system of Western philosophy, encompassing morality and aesthetics, logic and science, politics and metaphysics. Aristotle's views on the physical sciences profoundly shaped medieval scholarship, and their influence extended well into the Renaissance, although they were ultimately replaced by Newtonian Physics. In the biological sciences, some of his observations were confirmed to be accurate only in the nineteenth century. His works contain the earliest known formal study of logic, which was incorporated in the late nineteenth century into modern formal logic. In metaphysics, Aristotelianism had a profound influence on philosophical and theological thinking in the Islamic and Jewish traditions in the Middle Ages, and it continues to influence Christian theology, especially Eastern Orthodox theology, and the scholastic tradition of the Roman Catholic Church. All aspects of Aristotle's philosophy continue to be the object of active academic study today.



The Persians entered the Peloponnesian War in 411 BC forming a mutual-defence pact with Sparta and combining their naval resources against Athens (see Tissaphernes) in exchange for sole Persian control of Ionia.

The Peloponnesian War, 431 to 404 BC, was an ancient Greek war fought by Athens and its empire against the Peloponnesian League led by Sparta. Historians have traditionally divided the war into three phases. In the first phase, the Archidamian War, Sparta launched repeated invasions of Attica, while Athens took advantage of its naval supremacy to raid the coast of the Peloponnese attempting to suppress signs of unrest in its empire. This period of the war was concluded in 421 BC, with the signing of the Peace of Nicias. That treaty, however, was soon undermined by renewed fighting in the Peloponnese. In 415 BC, Athens dispatched a massive expeditionary force to attack Syracuse in Sicily; the attack failed disastrously, with the destruction of the entire force, in 413 BC. This ushered in the final phase of the war, generally referred to either as the Decelean War, or the Ionian War. In this phase, Sparta, now receiving support from Persia, supported rebellions in Athens' subject states in the Aegean Sea and Ionia, undermining Athens' empire, and, eventually, depriving the city of naval supremacy. The destruction of Athens' fleet at Aegospotami effectively ended the war, and Athens surrendered in the following year. The Peloponnesian War reshaped the Ancient Greek world. On the level of international relations, Athens, the strongest city-state in Greece prior to the war's beginning, was reduced to a state of near-complete subjection, while Sparta became established as the leading power of Greece. The economic costs of the war were felt all across Greece; poverty became widespread in the Peloponnese, while Athens found itself completely devastated, and never regained its pre-war prosperity.[1][2] The war also wrought subtler changes to Greek society; the conflict between democratic Athens and oligarchic Sparta, each of which supported friendly political factions within other states, made civil war a common occurrence in the Greek world. Greek warfare, meanwhile, originally a limited and formalized form of conflict, was transformed into an all-out struggle between city-states, complete with atrocities on a large scale. Shattering religious and cultural taboos, devastating vast swathes of countryside, and destroying whole cities, the Peloponnesian War marked the dramatic end to the fifth-century-B.C. golden age of Greece.[3]



Phillip II of Macedon, who, in 338 BC formed an alliance called οι Ελληνες (the Greeks), modelled after the alliance of 481 BC, and set in motion an invasion of the western part of Asia Minor. He was murdered before he could carry out his plan. His son, Alexander III of Macedon, known as Alexander the Great, set out in 334 BC with 38,000 soldiers. Within three years his army had conquered the Persian Empire and brought the Achaemenid dynasty to an end, bringing Greek culture up to the banks of the Indus river.



Alexander the Great (Greek: Ἀλέξανδρος ὁ Μέγας or Μέγας Ἀλέξανδρος,[1] Mégas Aléxandros; 356 BC – 323 BC),[2] also known as Alexander III of Macedon (Ἀλέξανδρος Γ' ὁ Μακεδών) was an ancient Greek[3] King (basileus) of Macedon (336–323 BC). He was one of the most successful military commanders of all time and is presumed undefeated in battle. By the time of his death, he had conquered (see Wars of Alexander the Great) the Achaemenid Persian Empire, adding it to Macedon's European territories; according to some modern writers, this was most of the world as known to the ancient Greeks.[4][5][n 1]

Alexander assumed the kingship of Macedon following the death of his father Philip II, who had unified[6] most of the city-states of mainland Greece under Macedonian hegemony in a federation called the League of Corinth.[7] After reconfirming Macedonian rule by quashing a rebellion of southern Greek city-states and staging a short but bloody excursion against Macedon's northern neighbours, Alexander set out east against the Persian Empire, which he defeated and overthrew. His conquests included Anatolia, the Levant, Egypt, Bactria and Mesopotamia, and he extended the boundaries of his own empire as far as Punjab, India.

Alexander had already made plans prior to his death for military and mercantile expansions into the Arabian peninsula, after which he was to turn his armies to the west (Carthage, Rome and the Iberian Peninsula). His original vision, however, had been to the east, to the ends of the world and the Great Outer Sea, as described by his boyhood tutor and mentor Aristotle.

Alexander integrated many foreigners into his army, leading some scholars to credit him with a "policy of fusion". He also encouraged marriages between his soldiers and foreigners, and he himself went on to marry two foreign princesses.

Alexander died after twelve years of constant military campaigning, possibly a result of malaria, poisoning, typhoid fever, viral encephalitis or the consequences of alcoholism.[8][9] His legacy and conquests lived on long after him and ushered in centuries of Greek settlement and cultural influence over distant areas. This period is known as the Hellenistic period, which featured a combination of Greek, Middle Eastern, Egyptian and Indian culture. Alexander himself featured prominently in the history and myth of both Greek and non-Greek cultures. His exploits inspired a literary tradition in which he appeared as a legendary hero in the tradition of Achilles.[10]


280 BC.

Zenodotus (Ζηνόδοτος), was a Greek grammarian, literary critic, and Homeric scholar. A native of Ephesus and a pupil of Philitas of Cos, he was the first librarian of the Library of Alexandria. He lived during the reigns of the first two Ptolemies, and was at the height of his reputation about 280 BC.

Zenodotus was the first superintendent of the Library of Alexandria and the first critical editor (διορθώτης diorthōtes) of Homer. His colleagues in the librarianship were Alexander of Aetolia and Lycophron of Chalcis, to whom were allotted the tragic and comic writers respectively, Homer and other epic poets being assigned to Zenodotus.

Although he has been reproached with arbitrariness and an insufficient knowledge of Greek, his recension undoubtedly laid a sound foundation for future criticism. Having collated the different manuscripts in the library, he expunged or obelized doubtful verses, transposed or altered lines, and introduced new readings. It is probable that he was responsible for the division of the Homeric poems into twenty-four books each (using capital Greek letters for the Iliad, and lower-case for the Odyssey), and possibly was the author of the calculation of the days of the Iliad in the Tabula Iliaca.

He does not appear to have written any regular commentary on Homer, but his Homeric γλῶσσαι (glōssai, lists of unusual words) probably formed the source of the explanations of Homer attributed by the grammarians to Zenodotus. He also lectured upon Hesiod, Anacreon and Pindar, if he did not publish editions of them. He is further called an epic poet by the Suda, and three epigrams in the Greek Anthology are assigned to him.


early 3rd century BCE - after 246 BC was a librarian at the Library of Alexandria.

Apollonius of Rhodes, also known as Apollonius Rhodius (Latin; Greek Ἀπολλώνιος Ῥόδιος Apollōnios Rhodios), early 3rd century BCE - after 246 BCE, was a librarian at the Library of Alexandria. He is best known for his epic poem the Argonautica, which told the mythological story of Jason and the Argonauts' quest for the Golden Fleece, and which is one of the chief works in the history of epic poetry.

He did not come from Rhodes, but was a Hellenistic Egyptian. He lived in Rhodes for part of his life and while living there adopted "Rhodian" as a surname.


276 BC- c. 195 BC

Eratosthenes of Cyrene (Greek Ἐρατοσθένης; c. 276 BC[1] - c. 195 BC[2]) was a Greek mathematician, poet, athlete, geographer and astronomer. He made several discoveries and inventions including a system of latitude and longitude. He was the first Greek to calculate the circumference of the Earth (with remarkable accuracy), and the tilt of the earth's axis (also with remarkable accuracy); he may also have accurately calculated the distance from the earth to the sun and invented the leap day. [2] He also created a map of the world based on the available geographical knowledge of the era. Eratosthenes was also the founder of scientific chronology; he endeavored to fix the dates of the chief literary and political events from the conquest of Troy.

Eratosthenes' measurement of the Earth's circumference

Eratosthenes knew that on the summer solstice at local noon in the Ancient Egyptian city of Swenet (known in Greek as Syene, and in the modern day as Aswan) on the Tropic of Cancer, the sun would appear at the zenith, directly overhead. He also knew, from measurement, that in his hometown of Alexandria, the angle of elevation of the Sun would be 1/50 of a full circle (7°12') south of the zenith at the same time. Assuming that Alexandria was due north of Syene he concluded that the distance from Alexandria to Syene must be 1/50 of the total circumference of the Earth. His estimated distance between the cities was 5000 stadia (about 500 geographical miles or 950 km). He rounded the result to a final value of 700 stadia per degree, which implies a circumference of 252,000 stadia. The exact size of the stadion he used is frequently argued. The common Attic stadium was about 185 m, which would imply a circumference of 46,620 km, i.e. 16.3% too large. However, if we assume that Eratosthenes used the "Egyptian stadium"[5] of about 157.5 m, his measurement turns out to be 39,690 km, an error of less than 1%.[6]


257 BC–c. 185 BC/180 BC

Aristophanes (Greek: Ἀριστοφάνης) of Byzantium (c. 257 BC–c. 185 BC/180 BC) was a Greek scholar, critic and grammarian, particularly renowned for his work in Homeric scholarship, but also for work on other classical authors such as Pindar and Hesiod. Born in Byzantium about 257 BC, he soon moved to Alexandria and studied under Zenodotus and Callimachus. He succeeded Eratosthenes as head librarian of the Library of Alexandria at the age of sixty.

Aristophanes is credited with the invention of the accent system used in Greek to designate pronunciation, as the tonal, pitched system of archaic and classical Greek was giving way (or had given way) to the stress-based system of koine. This was also a period when Greek, in the wake of Alexander's conquests, was beginning to act as a lingua franca for the Eastern Mediterranean (replacing various Semitic languages). The accents were designed to assist in the pronunciation of Greek in older literary works.

He also invented one of the first forms of punctuation in the 3rd century BCE; single dots (distinctiones) that separated verses (colometry), and indicated the amount of breath needed to complete each fragment of text when reading aloud (not to comply with rules of grammar, which were not applied to punctuation marks until thousands of years later). For a short passage (a komma), a media distinctio dot was placed mid-level (·). This is the origin of the modern comma punctuation mark, and its name. For a longer passage (a colon), a subdistinctio dot was placed level with the bottom of the text (.), similar to a modern colon or semicolon, and for very long pauses (periodos), a distinctio point near the top of the line of text (·).[1][2][3]

He died in Alexandria around 185-180 B.C.


220?143 BC?                

Aristarchus or Aristarch of Samothrace (Ἀρίσταρχος, 220?143 BC?) was a grammarian noted as the most influential of all scholars of Homeric poetry. He was the librarian of the library of Alexandria and seems to have succeeded his teacher Aristophanes of Byzantium in that role.

He established the most historically important critical edition of the Homeric poems, and he is said to have applied his teacher's accent system to it, pointing the texts with a careful eye for metrical correctness. It is likely that he, or more probably, another predecessor at Alexandria, Zenodotus, was responsible for the division of the Iliad and Odyssey into twenty-four books each. According to the Suda, Aristarchus wrote 800 treatises (ὑπομνήματα) on various topics, all lost but for fragments preserved in the various scholia.

Accounts of his death vary, though they agree that it was during the persecutions of Ptolemy VIII of Egypt. One account has him, having contracted an incurable dropsy, starving himself to death while in exile on Cyprus.

The historical connection of his name to literary criticism has created the term aristarch for someone who is a judgmental critic.


135 BC- 51 BC

Posidonius (Greek: Ποσειδώνιος / Poseidonios) "of Apameia" (ὁ Απαμεύς) or "of Rhodes" (ὁ Ρόδιος) (ca. 135 BCE - 51 BCE), was a Greek[1] Stoic[2] philosopher, politician, astronomer, geographer, historian and teacher native to Apamea, Syria.[3] He was acclaimed as the greatest polymath of his age. None of his vast body of work can be read in its entirety today, as it exists only in fragments.


1st cent BC

Diodorus Siculus (Greek: Διόδωρος Σικελιώτης), was a Greek historian who flourished in the 1st century BC. According to Diodorus' own work, he was born at Agyrium in Sicily (now called Agira). With but one exception, antiquity affords no further information about Diodorus' life and doing than is to be found in his own work Bibliotheca historica. Only Jerome, in his Chronicon under the year of Abraham 1968 (49 BC), writes, "Diodorus of Sicily, a writer of Greek history, became illustrious". His English translator, Charles Henry Oldfather, remarks on the "striking coincidence" that one of only two known Greek inscriptions from Agyrium (I.G. XIV, 588) is the tombstone of one "Diodorus, the son of Apollonius".


to 24 AD


Strabo was born in a wealthy family from Amaseia in Pontus (modern Amasya Turkey),[2] which had recently become part of the Roman Empire.[3] His mother was Georgian. He studied under various geographers and philosophers; first in Nysa, later in Rome. He was philosophically a Stoic and politically a proponent of Roman imperialism. Later he made extensive travels to Egypt and Kush, among others. It is not known when his Geography was written, though comments within the work itself place the finished version within the reign of Emperor Tiberius. Some place its first drafts around 7 AD, others around 18 AD. Last dateable mention is given to the death in 23 AD of Juba II, king of Maurousia (Mauretania), who is said to have died "just recently".[4] On the presumption that "recently" means within a year, Strabo stopped writing that year or the next (24 AD), when he died.

Strabo's History is nearly completely lost. Although Strabo quotes it himself, and other classical authors mention that it existed, the only surviving document is a fragment of papyrus now in possession of the University of Milan (renumbered [Papyrus] 46).

Several different dates have been proposed for Strabo's death, but most of them conclude that Strabo died shortly after 23 AD.

The Geography

Main article: Geographica

Strabo is mostly famous for his 17-volume work Geographica, which presented a descriptive history of people and places from different regions of the world known to his era.[4]




















Map of the World according to Strabo

It is an important source of information on the ancient world, especially when information is corroborated by other sources. Within the books of Geographica is a map of Europe (see image at right).


AD 23 79

Gaius Plinius Secundus (AD 23August 25, 79), better known as Pliny the Elder, was an ancient author, naturalist or natural philosopher and naval and military commander who wrote Naturalis Historia. He is known for his saying "True glory consists in doing what deserves to be written; in writing what deserves to be read". Pliny the Elder died on August 25, AD 79 during the famed eruption of Mount Vesuvius that also destroyed the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum.



Plutarch, born Plutarchos (Greek: Πλούταρχος) then, on his becoming a Roman citizen, Lucius Mestrius Plutarchus (Μέστριος Πλούταρχος)[1], c. AD 46 – 120, was a Greek historian, biographer, essayist, and Middle Platonist known primarily for his Parallel Lives and Moralia.[2] He was born to a prominent family in Chaeronea, Boeotia, a town about twenty miles east of Delphi.


Marinus of Tyre, (ca. 70 - 130 A.D., Greek: Μαρίνος ο Τύριος, also rendered as Marinos of Tyre) was a Phoenician[citation needed] geographer, cartographer and mathematician, who founded mathematical geography.

Originally from Syria,[1], Marinus is thought to have lived both in the city of Tyre and in Rhodes. He and his work were a precursor to that of the great Greek/Egyptian geographer Claudius Ptolemy (90 - 168 A.D.), who used Marinus' work as a source for his Geographia, and acknowledges his great obligations to him. Apart from Ptolemy, Marinos is also cited by the Arab geographer al-Masudi. Beyond this little is known of his life.

He introduced improvements to the construction of maps and developed a system of nautical charts. His chief legacy is that he first assigned to each place a proper latitude and longtitude; he used a "Meridian of the Isles of the Blessed (Canary Islands or Cape Verde Islands)" as zero meridian, and the parallel of Rhodes for measurements of latitude. Works used by Ptolemy include Marinus' Geography, as well as his "Corrected Geographical Tables", which are often dated to AD 114, though he may have been a near-contemporary of Ptolemy. Marinus estimated a length of 90,000 stadia for the parallel of Rhodes, corresponding to a circumference of the Earth of 33,300 km, about 17% less than the actual value. (Both numbers depend upon the length assigned to the Greek stade).

He also carefully studied the works of his predecessors and the diaries of travellers. His maps were the first in the Roman Empire to show China. Around 120 A.D., Marinus wrote that the habitable world was bounded on the west by the Fortunate Islands. The text of his geographical treatise however is lost. He also invented the equirectangular projection, which is still used in map creation today. A few of Marinus' opinions are reported by Ptolemy. Marinus was of the opinion that the Okeanos was separated into an eastern and a western part by the continents (Europe, Asia and Africa). He thought that the inhabited world stretched in latitude from Thule (Shetland) to Agisymba (Tropic of Capricorn) and in longitude from the Isles of the Blessed to Shera (China). Marinus also coined the term Antarctic, referring to the opposite of the Arctic Circle.


90 – 168AD

Claudius Ptolemaeus (Greek: Κλαύδιος Πτολεμαίος Klaúdios Ptolemaîos; 90 – 168), known in English as Ptolemy (pronounced /ˈtɒləmɪ/), was a Roman[1] mathematician, astronomer, geographer and astrologer. He lived in Egypt under the Roman Empire, and is believed to have been born in the town of Ptolemais Hermiou in the Thebaid. He died in Alexandria around 168 AD.[2]

Ptolemy was the author of several scientific treatises, three of which would be of continuing importance to later Islamic and European science. The first is the astronomical treatise now known as the Almagest (in Greek, Η Μεγάλη Σύνταξις, "The Great Treatise", originally Μαθηματική Σύνταξις, "Mathematical Treatise"). The second is the Geography, which is a thorough discussion of the geographic knowledge of the Greco-Roman world. The third is the astrological treatise known in Greek as the Apotelesmatika (Ἀποτελεσματικά), or more commonly in Greek as the Tetrabiblos ("Four books"), in which he attempted to adapt horoscopic astrology to the Aristotelian natural philosophy of his day.